First Things First
Sam: Hey everyone! Before we dive into today’s Beat, I have a quick, fun ticket giveaway.
Next week, 1776 and Revolution are hosting the 2018 Challenge Cup Global Finals at The Anthem. The event is the culmination of a 75-city startup pitch competition, and 20 finalists will compete in D.C. for a chance to win $100K.
As a part of this, 1776 is giving away free tickets today to the first four people to contact our events coordinator Alex Fleming via email today (firstname.lastname@example.org). Sounds like a fun time!
Now, to today’s Beat…
The Big One
A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.
Landing in D.C. was a total accident for Social Tables.
Dan Berger, the founder and CEO, went to business school at Georgetown University and then landed at a consulting firm where he wasn’t doing what he loved or, really, much of anything — so he started a side project that would later turn into Social Tables.
And while landing in D.C. was accidental, that hasn’t stopped Berger from working to make the region a stronger startup hub.
Social Tables opens its headquarters in downtown D.C. to the public for events and has recruited a fair share of its workforce to the District from other cities. And, in a more active way, Berger has founded a D.C. tech advocacy group. Called the Capital Tech Coalition, the group works to represent the interests of D.C. tech through a variety of actions.
So far, those have focused on immigration and the Trump Administration, a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser demanding the same incentives offered to Amazon and a D.C. tech marching block with March For Our Lives on March 24 focusing on gun violence.
Berger spoke with District Download, our podcast with General Assembly D.C., this week about how he built up Social Tables, the challenges facing the D.C. tech community, Amazon HQ2 potentially landing in the DMV — and, of course, Social Tables’ spinning room.
Read more: Why D.C. Tech Leaders Should Empower the Local Government to Support Tech’s Needs
Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves today.
Vinetta Project D.C. Unveils 4 Semifinalists
Each year, The Vinetta Project’s D.C. chapter gathers a group of up-and-coming women-led companies to compete for a $20K grand prize. The competition hosts two semifinal rounds where four startup founders pitch a panel of investors and founders for a chance to advance to the finals in September. At each semifinal, two finalists advance to the final round, and the winner receives $20K and one-on-one mentor meetings with judges. The first semifinalists showcase will take place Wednesday, March 21. The second will happen in June.
The first four semifinalists were unveiled today. Read more: Vinetta Project D.C. Unveils Its First Four Semifinalists in All-Women Pitch Competition
Atlanta Co-working Group Plans D.C. Expansion
Arriana: Two Georgetown graduates are returning to D.C. to expand their workspace startup The Gathering Spot later this year. Originally founded in Atlanta, the co-working space is an exclusive club that hosts events, dinners and members-only experiences. Founders Ryan Wilson and TK Petersen met as roommates at Georgetown University. They later decided to create The Gathering Spot in Wilson’s hometown of Atlanta. Since its opening in 2016, the club has doubled in size and its membership includes more than 1.5K people. Read more: Atlanta Co-working Group Sets Eyes on D.C. Expansion
Amazon Bookstore Opens in Georgetown
OK, I promise, there will come a day when I don’t talk about Amazon, but today is not that day.
Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in the District today. Books available in the store are selected by a group of curators who pick from books either rated four stars or above on Amazon.com or are bestsellers in the chain’s other bookstores or on the website. And, the store plans to carry new releases alongside its curated selection.
Amazon also has a second bookstore in the works in Bethesda. The Washington Business Journal has more.
Elon Musk Re-assess Hyperloop’s Priorities
As Elon Musk’s The Boring Company ramps up for a potential D.C.-NYC Hyperloop, with a permit to assess a site in NoMa for a station, the top executive announced a new priority for all Hyperloops. Instead of just creating a system of tunnels, The Boring Company now wants to build a “loop” inside the tunnels that would prioritize pedestrians and cyclists.
As Ars Technica points out, it sounds exactly like a subway. Ars Technica has more.
Tech Madness DC Round 2 Voting Gets Underway
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that y’all love a good March Madness bracket. After a whomping 36K votes in our first round, our Round 2 match-ups are here.
Storyblocks walked away with the most votes at 1,134, even though they only walked away victorious against ParkMyCloud by a 19-vote margin. And we had some pretty tight competitions: Social Tables, Virgil Security, Intermarkets, Optoro and RightEye all only won by less than 20 votes.
Voting for Round 2 opens today and goes until Thursday, March 15. Be sure to cast your vote to make sure your favorites end up in the Sweet 16. Read more: Tech Madness D.C. Competition Heats up as Round 2 Gets Underway